Saturday, January 23, 2016

Today's Gospel ...

s. leopold mandic

They set out to seize him, for they said:
"He is out of his mind."

As I mentioned in the com box ... Pius XII started it: The 1955 revisions of Holy Week.

Don't say pastoral.

I've been thinking about the new revision to the Holy Thursday ritual, allowing 'the washing of the feet of selected members from the entire People of God' - which would now officially include women.  It's been a common practice for many years - though condemned by many faithful Catholics.  Since Pope Francis 'violated' the rubrics, the same group has pretty much condemned the pope for it, and now with the current change, he's being condemned all the more.  Accused of letting down those who fought to maintain tradition of reserving the ritual to Catholic men only.  Whatever the case, the ritual was never obligatory, and before the Pius XII revisions, it was done outside of Mass.  Thus, since the mid-20th century, the ritual has flexed and changed according to pastoral needs, one might say.

That said, I was wondering what the Church would have been like way back when - mid-20th century, if the pope would have began dressing down the papacy then?  Got rid of all the fluff, pomp and ostentatious display?  Drop the ostrich fans and all the majestic attire, get rid of the tiarra and elaborate copes and cappas?  Only as much as St. John Paul II did, maybe?  No - let's imagine it as it is - the papacy we have today.  Simple, candid, direct, hands-on pastoral care.  No palaces, no thrones, no elaborate kingly attire - a poor papacy for the poor.

Would the faithful of the 1950's have rebelled if all the smoke and shiny stuff had been stripped away?  If the pope dressed down, if he lived more simply, and he wasn't so remote?  What if the popes spoke using ordinary language, which non-religious people - even sinners understood?  What would have happened?  Did people go to Mass because of the rituals and vestments and splendid music and art and decoration?  I hope not.

When history removed these things, say in revolutions and war, or situations such as internment camps and concentration camps, or even in the underground churches of anti-Christian regimes, did the people lose their faith and turn on the popes and bishops?  That's hyperbole of course.  What has it got to do with our time?

Back to cha-cha-cha-changes to the rituale romanum  ...

Like I said - when I was little, it was a novelty - a curiosity.  As it developed, it was often even more a novelty because sometimes liturgical dancers waltzed up the aisle with pitchers of water.  And women got their feet washed and it was something more to bitch about.  So I avoided it for a long time.  I skipped Holy Thursday.  When I got back to it - it still seemed a novelty - no matter where it was done.  I have stories - but I'm sure you all do.

As Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated when discussing the liturgical history of the rite:
“The washing of feet is not mandatory,” he added, and pastors should “evaluate its suitability” in their circumstances. The rite should not be “automatic or artificial, deprived of meaning,” nor should it become “so important that all the attention of the Mass” is focused on it. 
The “current change” to the foot-washing rite, which allows for the washing of the feet of selected members from the entire People of God, has changed the significance of the rite, Archbishop Roche continued. “The value now relates not so much to the exterior imitation of what Jesus has done,” and more to as his “gift of self ‘to the end’ for the salvation of mankind, his charity which embraces all” and offers an example. - Catholic Culture

I think it's already become so important all the attention of the Mass is focused on it. 

I'm against it.

Mary Jo Copeland washing the feet of her poor at the center she founded thirty years ago.  She doesn't do it to be symbolic, or as a ritual - she actually serves the homeless who often have foot problems because of poverty and or disease, and they actually need their feet washed.  She works every day and takes no pay, her organization, Caring and Sharing Hands is an independent charity, not even affiliated with Catholic Charities.  92% of all money donated to Sharing and Caring Hands goes to the needs of the poor, only 8 percent goes to management and fund raising. The man washing feet with her is Fr. Joseph Johnson, her spiritual director.

When it comes to liturgy, my opinion doesn't matter of course, not even to me.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pope Francis makes it official, women may now have their feet washed in Church ...

It's about time.

More specifically ...

(1) Pope Francis did not write a letter confirming the decree. He wrote a letter to Cardinal Sarah on December 20 requesting the change to the rubric in the Roman Missal.
(2) The decree has been issued not by Francis himself but by the Congregation over the signatures of Cardinal Sarah and Archbishop Roche.
The decree follows Francis’s request for “an adequate explanation” of the meaning of the rite, but it is interesting to see how Francis’s intent has perhaps already been mediated. He asked that pastors should be able to select participants from the entire membership of the People of God, but the decree from the Congregation specifies a “small group” (parvum coetum in the Latin,gruppetto in the Italian translation), which might be viewed as an attempt to control those celebrations where a large number, or even all, of those present have their feet washed.
However, also notable is the spelling-out that the group can include both men and women, young and old, the healthy and the sick, and clergy, consecrated religious and lay people. - Paul Inwood

It's not a big deal to me.

Song for this post here.

Wait for it:  1, 2, 3,

h/t jnstl

Little Saint Agnes

“A new kind of martyrdom!” exclaimed St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan.
I was thinking of the Saint this morning.

Agnes was only twelve years old when she was martyred!  She had been confined to a brothel, tortured and tormented, for refusing marriage to the Prefect's son.  One is reminded of Maria Goretti who was killed refusing the advances of a would be rapist.

How young these virgin martyrs, how courageous facing death, how compassionate for their persecutors.  It is said Agnes healed the blindness of the man who tried to violate her, and we know Maria Goretti was concerned for the soul of her would be rapist, resisting his advances warning him of mortal sin, and after her death, appearing in a dream which effected his repentance.

These young girls faced with violations against their human dignity, their chastity - resisting unto death their attackers - remind me of the victims of systematic, weaponized rape in our day.  Be it widespread or isolated - it is now understood as a crime against humanity, a war crime.  Certainly ISIS is using it as such.

I pray St. Agnes to intercede for the victims of these crimes.

A new kind of war crime!

Rape, as a crime against humanity: Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity. - Source

It seems to me we must examine our so-called freedoms to abortion, divorce, promiscuity, pornography, sexual exploitation of minors, and other acts of sexual violence as a way to 'control' population, and or undermine human dignity.  Not sure how to express it, but it seems to me these disorders cause serious harm to humanity as well.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced." - Cardinal Wojtyla 1976

Satellite images confirm that the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been destroyed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

St Elijah's stood on a hill near the northern city of Mosul for 1,400 years.

But analysts said the images, obtained by the Associated Press, suggested it had been demolished in late 2014, soon after IS seized the city.

A Catholic priest from Mosul warned that its Christian history was "being barbarically levelled". - BBC

I've been studying really hard lately ...

h/t jnstl

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This is a keeper: A quote from Pope Francis ...

Penitence of David

"There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future”. - Pope Francis

That is taken from his homily discussing King David, anointed by Samuel to succeed Saul.

David committed a lot of sins - very serious crimes.  Yet as the Holy Father pointed out, "but he never used God for his own purpose”.  A great sinner, but a repentant one.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spotlight: Break the Story. Break the Silence. Break the Archbishop.

Break the man, John Nienstedt.

News that former Archbishop John Nienstedt showed up in a parish in Michigan and is working there - or helping out seems to have become public concern:
According to the January 10, 2016 bulletin of Saint Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Michigan, Archbishop Nienstedt has found a job serving as an assistant priest at the parish, which is located in the Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Per the Pastor's Column (see below, page two), Nienstedt will have an office at the parish center, but will be living at the neighboring Church of Saint Joseph. His duties will include covering masses in the absence of the pastor, visiting the sick and homebound, and assisting with 'various pastoral ministries'. - Canonical Consultation
The matter reemerged on last week's news regarding Nienstedt's move from the Archbishop's residence in St. Paul, Minnesota and reports of relocating to Battle Creek, Michigan.  I haven't followed anything about the archbishop since his resignation - evidently he is still being hounded by his enemies and those outraged over his lack of transparency and refusal to make public the findings of the so-called Greene Espel report.
It was in July of 2014 that Commonweal Magazine broke the story that Archbishop John Nienstedt had authorized an investigation into his own conduct as a result of complaints received from priests, former priests, and seminarians. That investigation was entrusted to, and then removed from, a team of attorneys from the Greene Espel law firm in Minneapolis. While the results of the investigation have never been made public, what is known is that at least one matter under investigation was the emeritus Archbishop's relationship with Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis currently serving prison sentence for sexually abusing minors. - CC
The Battle Creek Enquirer has more on the story here:
He is accused of making “unwanted sexual advances” toward seminarians, retaliating against one who rebuffed him, interfering with a church sexual misconduct investigation and concealing the crimes of predator priests.
But he’s good enough for western Michigan Catholics, at least in the view of Kalamazoo’s Catholic bishop.
[T]wo disturbing signals are sent by Nienstedt’s new position. Victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and betrayed Catholics are essentially being told “Your pain doesn’t matter. We’ll put any cleric anywhere we like.” And worse, Catholic employees are essentially being told, “No matter how much hurt you cause, if you’re a priest or bishop, you’ll always have a place on the Catholic church payroll.” - Enquirer

 I disagree that these are the messages sent by the exiled Nienstedt in his new position.  It's misplaced zeal and hyperbole intended to destroy a man.  I don't believe 'victims' could have that impression - what were the lawsuits about?  I can't help but believe this is what the 'disgruntled' say and want people to believe.  I'm convinced there is an underlying anticlecricalism motivating the hounding of Nienstedt.  I think it is somewhat similar to the Church Militant vendetta against Dolan in NYC.  I might be wrong, but I'm very suspicious of this ongoing pursuit against Nienstedt.

I can't imagine Nienstedt is a threat to any child, or young adult, especially if he is simply helping out covering masses in the absence of the pastor, visiting the sick and homebound, and assisting with 'various pastoral ministries'.  

Sadly, he seems to be on his own - no one to defend him.  It's vendetta and they are going for the kill.

h/t JE

Who do you think you are?

Ones conversion experience does not justify the feeling that one is one of the "elect". - Pope Benedict

I wish I had known, or to be more accurate, understood that a long, long time ago.

I keep pondering that statement.  I think it could apply to a lot of experiences, especially mystical, contemplative experiences - insights, knowledge, intuitions, and so on.  Even education - knowledge of scripture, theology, the entire spectrum of religious experience and practice.  It can lead one to adopt the attitude of those who are convinced of their own righteousness and despise everyone else.

Once, long ago, I presumptuously applied this psalm verse to myself: I have more insight than all who teach me, because I do your will.  Really.  If I had known then what I know now.  Indeed, "ones conversion experience does not justify the feeling that one is of the 'elect'".

On the other hand, one should never lose confidence - as St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce noted:
"In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds in himself anything that might cause him to look down on others." - Science of the Cross 

Sleepwalking, Will Wilson

Did you know the DiCaprio film, The Revenant, is actually based on the early history of Blaine, Missouri?

The bear scene was lifted right out of the acclaimed play, Red White and Blaine, directed by Broadway impresario Corky St. Clair, as recounted in the famed documentary, Waiting For Guffman.  It was a triumph!  Sadly it will most likely not be credited at the Oscars.